Another case of shoddy reporting compounding faux alarmism: Scotland on Sunday reports that the UK’s Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) sees Google Earth as a “security issue” with causes it “headaches” and “worry”. What kind of issues? Well, none really, if you read the full quote by a spokesman:
“It is an issue for us. At present the quality of the images is such as not to give concern but if the pictures were of a higher resolution then that would be a different issue.”
So there’s no story. Silliness does start when a “source” tells the paper:
“If there were to be high-quality detailed images made available of security-sensitive areas then we would intervene to stop things like that getting out. We would have to take steps to prevent security being jeopardised.”
Intervene, ay? Ooh, scary.
To spice things up a bit, the article has to go sensationalise the Australian episode, where a wayward nuclear energy official’s censorious zeal was quickly squashed by cooler heads in the federal government. Here is some accurate local reporting on the matter:
A spokeswoman for [Australian] Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said security agencies had factored the Google Earth website into their assessments of threat and found it posed no risk.
Which means, Murdo Macleod, that it is not true that “The Australian government has already demanded that pictures of a nuclear plant should be removed from the site,” as you wrote. Nor is it true that “The authorities in Australia have already called for Google to screen out images of a nuclear power station amid worries that the information might be of use to terrorists.”